Meet the Contenders: 2024 Arkansas Derby

March 26th, 2024

Meet the horses running in the 2024 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. For each horse, we're listing a pro, a con, and a rating of potential. The star rating of 1 to 5 represents opportunity to perform well. Be sure to follow these contenders by adding them to your Stable Alerts.


Oaklawn Park - Coady Photography

#1 Will Take It                   *

Pro: Showed improved early foot last time and just missed in stretch duel.

Con: First two tries were poor, and he enters still a maiden.



Timberlake wins the Rebel (G2) (Photo by Coady Photography)

#2 Timberlake                   *****

Pro: Champagne (G1) and Rebel (G2) winner one of the classiest colts in the field.

Con: Raced a bit erratically in stretch of the Rebel; lack of focus a potential issue.



Dimatic wins at Oaklawn (Photo by Coady Photography)

#3 Dimatic                         **

Pro: One of three in here for Steve Asmussen, who has won this race four times.  

Con: Blinkers didnโ€™t help much in Rebel, where he was well-beaten fifth.



Time for Truth (Photo by Coady Photography)

#4 Time for Truth              ***

Pro: Stakes-placed colt handled two turns well winning allowance last time.

Con: Hasnโ€™t faced a field of this quality yet and stamina will be tested.



Liberal Arts

Liberal Arts. (Photo by Coady Photography)

#5 Liberal Arts                   ***

Pro: Distant third in Southwest (G3) and should improve second off the layoff.

Con: Could use some pace and there isnโ€™t a ton of it here on paper.



Informed Patriot breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs (Photo by Coady Photography)

Informed Patriot (Photo by Coady Photography)

#6 Informed Patriot           **

Pro: Ran well here when third to Catching Freedom in Smarty Jones S. two back.

Con: Better than poor try in Sunland Derby suggests, but likely not enough to upset.



Muth winning the American Pharoah (G1) at Santa Anita (Photo by Benoit Photo)

Muth winning the American Pharoah (G1) at Santa Anita (Photo by Benoit Photo)

#7 Muth                            *****

Pro: Never worse than second in five starts and among the best of his generation at two.

Con: Enters off layoff of nearly three months and has never run outside SoCal base.



Just Steel (inside) edging Be You in a Saratoga maiden special weight (Photo by Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher)

Just Steel (inside) edging Be You in a Saratoga maiden special weight (Photo by Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher)

#8 Just Steel                      **

Pro: Placed in first two local Derby preps before throwing a dud in the Rebel.

Con: Proven to be a cut or two below the best three-year-olds on the grounds.



Mystik Dan winning the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park (Photo by Coady Photography/Kurtis Coady)

#9 Mystik Dan                   ****

Pro: Romping winner of the Southwest would be the horse to beat if he repeats that effort.

Con: Right trip and muddy strip flattered that big run; must prove he can do it over fast track



Imperial Gun (Photo by Coady Photography)

# 10 Imperial Gun                 **

Pro: Son of Gun Runner won maiden well two back; remains with upside.

Con: Interim allowance fourth suggests he needs a big step forward to contend here.